Some random things I wanted to share, with nothing in common, other than the fact that I enjoyed them:

I think this song and video are just beautiful. Passenger was definitely my favorite album of 2011.


This is making me want to bind a book. It's been a long time. So many crafts, so little time.

When you find yourself with fifteen minutes to spare, go watch The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (inspired by The Wizard of Oz, Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton and a love of books. Trust me, it will make sense).

"When you knit something for someone, you're thinking about them. I think it just conveys love" 

We've had some beautiful days lately. Sunday afternoon I went to a winery in Escondido, in support of a friend about to start chemotherapy. The view was lovely.

image from www.flickr.com

Read More

those darn(ed) socks

Okay sock knitters and enjoyers of hand knit socks (or just any socks, in general), I did the research for you, and it turns out that it's not too hard to darn your socks. 

There are several different techniques, and I tried out three different ones. There's the (1) Swiss darning (or duplicate stitch) method, the (2) running-stitch-weaving method, and then there's the (3) knitted patch. 

image from www.flickr.com

I found some pretty good videos from Knit Picks for the first and third methods (see below), and there are a lot of advocates for the woven method (but not many good videos). It's certainly the easiest, and for machine made socks, it's probably the way to go. 

The first sock had a fairly small hole, it appeared that it was mostly just the yarn between two columns of stitches that was broken, so I used Swiss darning to close it up. This basically means that you duplicate stitch over the area to be mended. It really works best for strengthening thin areas, not so much for closing up large holes, unless you want to build up a framework with heavy thread, which is later removed. I have to admit, I went a little cross-eyed trying to stitch everything in the right places because my socks were somewhat felted in that area. Still, the beginning of a greater disaster has been averted, and while it may not be pretty, it is definitely functional. I also didn't have matching yarn for this sock, but what I used blends well enough. Here's the part one video (you should be able to click part two when it's done):

For sock number two, I did have matching yarn. The hole was more like two holes, and pretty big. I used the regular old weaving method for this one. I am interested to see how strong it will be. It isn't super pretty, but it's better than a hole, and I'm glad I could match the yarn. It just blends right in. It's nice to see that Lorna's Laces really holds its color. This was about the best video I could find on the weaving method (I really wove my stitches, going over and under on opposite rows, this looks like just a bunch of random stitching to me):

The knitted patch is good for larger holes, and it wasn't too hard to do. As you can see in my picture above, the Malabrigo yarn has faded quite a lot from washing and wearing. It's so nice and soft, but I'm not sure I'll use if for socks again. I am a little concerned that the patch will feel like a huge lump when I wear them. I tried them on, and I can feel it, but it's not too bad. We'll see if it's bothersome after a whole day, though! I do like how nice and tidy it appears. Again, it's a two-part video, here's the first part: 

There are some advocates for just sewing a hole closed, but that seems like a bad idea, especially on the bottom of your foot where you would feel a big lump. So don't do that! Has anyone else darned socks before? What method did you use? I'm so happy to have my socks back! My feet will now be warm for the rest of the winter. 

Read More

sock tragedies

In case you were wondering what to watch while waiting for new episodes of Downton Abbey, I thought I would suggest two series on Netflix Watch Instantly. The Grand is set in a four-star hotel in Manchester, post WWI, and is full of intrigue, lust and general soap opera drama all dressed up in wonderful 20's style. Then there is The Forsyte Saga, which follows an extended family through several generations from the late 19th century and up to the war. It gets a little ridiculous toward the end of the series, but was still worth a watch. Are there any other good costume dramas that I'm missing? 

Now lets talk about socks. There is something wrong with my inner thermostat this winter. It first started when I went to a summer climate (Africa) in December and came home to a cold snap. Then we had a heatwave and it got up to the 70's even up here in the mountains. And now it's cold again. My feet have been freezing, and regular socks are useless. I need to wear my handknit socks every day. I was hurriedly trying to finish another pair when the first tragedy struck:

image from www.flickr.com

I ran out of yarn just a few rows from the end. I tried to find someone with a few yards of the same yarn to spare on Ravelry, but got no response. So I improvised as best as I could.

image from www.flickr.com


If I was ambitious, I would rip out the toe of the other sock and use the same yarn to make a matching pair. I don't see that happening any time soon, however. It's not like anyone will ever see it, and I'm happy to have another pair of cozy warm socks to wear. 


image from www.flickr.com

They are here on Ravelry, the pattern is Paraphanalia, and the yarn (which I still love, even if I ran out early) is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the Bloomsbury colorway (plus a little Yarn Chef Bouillabaisse).

But that is not the end to my sock tragedies, oh no. No fewer than three socks currently have holes! I put too much work into these socks to just toss them, plus, I am very dependent on my wool socks right now. 

image from www.flickr.com

They're all on the balls of the foot, what does this mean? And two are Lorna's Laces yarn, while the other is Malabrigo sock, and they are of varying ages, so I can't say that it's the yarn. My plan for today is to learn how to darn socks, I will report back later. I even got a darning egg so I can do a proper job.

image from www.flickr.com

Read More

pincushions for sale and a pattern for free

I did it, I wrote up a knitting pattern and made it all pretty, and you can download it here, or on Ravelry, and there will also be a link in the side bar. I called them Bridge the Gap arm warmers for obvious reasons, not to mention, they will keep that gap between elbow and wrist cozy too. 


image from www.flickr.com


Please do let me know if you happen to knit yourself a pair and if you find any errors or anything unclear in the instruction. I am studying up on pattern writing, which is like learning a new language. I can read it, obviously, but it's a little different to write it. I'm nervous and excited, and ready to move on to the next design, which I hope will be even better. 

Meanwhile, other sorts of making is also happening as I tidy up my little house studio. This is kind of fun, cleaning up all my stuff and making things with what I have. I finished up a bunch of pincushions and a few needle books and listed them on Etsy.  

All pincushions

 These were made with some vintage copper candy molds I found at an antique mall. I really like them, and I might have to keep the pink one for myself if it doesn't sell. The others, sold in sets with matching needle books, are tiny tart tins. I do love a good needle book. 

All sets 2

I sorted through all my vintage buttons to find just the right ones. I've done these before and they sold out pretty quick. I'm working on a new, bigger pincushion. I'll try and get some of those listed next week. 

Read More

the gap

Well, here it (almost) is. My first original knitting design. Except there was a simple pair of socks that I made myself, and some scarves when I first got back into knitting a few years ago, but this is the first time I've actually kept track of what I was doing and have written it all down so someone else could knit it too. And how do I feel? Sort of meh. The execution of an idea with yarn was not as easy as I thought. I studied clothing & textiles in college, but working with fabric is different and easier somehow. This was definitely a learning experience. A challenging but enjoyable learning experience!

image from www.flickr.com

I have quite a few sweaters with 3/4 sleeves, and they're warm and nice, except for that last, bare bit of arm. It's been cold lately, and I'll often wear them with a long-sleeved t-shirt, but that's not always enough. So I wanted some cozy arm warmers, something casual and simple enough to go with lots of other things. I thought a nice sweatshirt gray would be just the thing. I warmed them up with a braided cable and added a little eyelet rib cuff to keep my wrists warm and peek out from a coat sleeve. 

image from www.flickr.com

I like how they turned out, and I will use them lots, but there is just something missing that makes them feel really special to me. I'm going to keep trying until understand how to make a design that I can feel good about selling. In the meantime, I'll finish editing this pattern over the weekend and it will be available as a free download on Ravelry, which was always my goal. So first New Year's resolution complete! 

I serendipitously came across this video a few days ago. While Ira Glass is talking about storytelling, everything he says applies to any creative endeavor, and I just loved how he put it. There's a gap, and I am going to work my way across that gap! 

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Have you ever felt that way about something? 

Read More

a fresh, new year

Happy New Year! I have high hopes for 2012, and I'm starting it off by cleaning out and finishing off and setting goals and figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. I'll be blogging up a storm here at Hey Lucy, and I'm starting to think about all the projects I can do and tutorials I can share, and things I can make for my Etsy shop. You see, while I was on vacation I learned that I had been laid off from my job. It was a bit shocking, and it's somewhat terrifying, but I really hope to turn it into something wonderful. 

It's quite fun wake up in the morning and have the whole day to putter and create, although it is surprising how much time all those mundane little things can take. I'm working on getting into a routine, a la FlyLady, and spending a certain amount of time in my little house studio. Later this week I'll be setting up my own little home office in a corner of our tiny guest room, which will involve building a desk, among other things, and I'm excited to see how it all comes together. 

In the meantime, I've whipped up and worked on a few things that have been waiting to be done for a very long time. I've had this polka dot fabric for dog beds for months, and I sewed one up the other day. It's just a giant pillow cover with an envelope back, and I stuffed it with some of our old pillows that have seen better days and needed replacing. I made it for Bear, our 10-year-old Golden Retriever, so he won't have to lay his old bones down on the floor, but Winston was eager to try it out and model for me.

image from www.flickr.com
He heartily approves. Oh, and Bear likes it too.

Ages ago I had the bright idea that I would hem some cheery blue plaid cotton squares and use them as handkerchiefs. I did a cute, hand-stitched hem on one and then ran out of steam. I really have to be in the mood for hand sewing, and the mood hasn't striked (stricken?) for awhile, so I zipped the rest through the rolled-hem foot on my sewing machine and called it good. The corners are not the prettiest, but it turns out I got them done just in time, since I woke up yesterday with a scratchy throat and runny nose. I have to say, it's no fun feeling under the weather when you can't even call in sick!

image from www.flickr.com
There has also been much knitting this past month, but I can only give you a sneak peek of a few projects, and I will have to tell you more later. I am finally testing my design chops, and the first photo is something I am working on that I hope to finish up and write up soon! I might need a test knitter or two, so let me know if you are interested! 

  image from www.flickr.com

So, I could use a little help. I really want to build Hey Lucy into a great site and have it be something useful, and then eventually to accept sponsors. I should probably do a formal survey, but in the meantime, I want to know what you think makes a good blog, what makes you come back every day? Tutorials? Original patterns? Links to cool stuff elsewhere? More photos of Winston? 😉 Fashion, design, crafts? One more than the other, or all three? Do you want to know about iPhone apps? Do you like to have lots to read, or just look at lots of photos? Please share! Either in the comments, or via email, if you want to keep it private (lucy (at) heylucy (dot) net). It would be most appreciated!

Here's to a fun new year!

Read More